Elegant and captivating are the two words that best describe the city of Nice. One of the most recognised and acclaimed cities in the world located in a mesmerising location along the famous French Riviera in the region of Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur. The entire region is a melting pot of Mediterranean culture and cuisine. Some would say that the Lyonnaise cuisine is very difficult to beat since Lyon is the cradle of French gastronomy, but the medley of ingredients, recipes and flavours that exist in in Côte-d’Azur is something to behold and enjoy with a passion.Locals and restaurant owners are extremely passionate about the food that is produced in their kitchens and they are not shy to show it off.
One of the most interesting things on offer in Nice is to become part of this passion by taking cooking classes. One particular company is “Les Petits Farcis” run by Rosa Jackson, she offers courses to all levels of ability. Part of the course is to visit the local fresh food markets to sample and learn about the array of produce and choose ingredients from the plethora on offer including French Cheeses and locally produced wine at local vineyards.
Then back to her remodelled and beautifully decorated studio kitchen to prep and cook. With good company and time to cook, converse and sample the wine, then it is time to devour the prepared dishes. Incredible food and memories are to be gained by visiting Nice.
Spanish cuisine has an outstanding reputation worldwide and has a long history culminating today in a phenomenon in Spanish gastronomy thanks to celebrity chefs such as Juan Maria Arzak and Santi Santamaria. Tapas, said to have originated in Cadiz, have evolved into a sophisticated cuisine and a huge variety is on offer including this small list:
- Tapa de Croquetas, made from ham, chicken or seafood
- Gambas al Ajillo, sizzling prawns with garlic and chili
- Bacalao, delicious salted cod, coated in breadcrumbs
- Calamares, fried squid
- Patatas Bravas, fried potato with spicy sauce
- Ensaladilla, a potato salad with tuna or prawns
- Gazpacho, served in glass, cold tomato soup topped with cucumber
- Salmorejo or Porra de Antequera, slightly thicker, and topped with egg and ham<
- Tortilla, typical but very satisfying Spanish omelette with potato
- Albondigas, Spanish meatballs, typically made with pork and in a sauce of either tomato or almond
You will also find regional versions of these tapas plus many more on offer depending on where you are in Spain and should ideally be enjoyed with a glass of local wine, beer or sherry. Pintxos are an adapted version of the tapa and appeared in 1930 in Donostia, the centre of San Sebastian. The Pintxo is a small snack offered with drink, placed on top of a slice of the house bread and held with a skewer.
Belgium is an absolute hotbed of gastronomical delights! But a famous stalwart is the friteries (or frituurs in Flanders). French fries are part of the Belgian culinary and cultural heritage and it is a fact that Belgium, rather than France was the first to create the notion of the “French Fry” as it was Belgium in the 1970s serving this street food from the numerous friteries, with an array of wonderful sauces. It is thought that the fries were originally a peasant food from the areas of Dinant and Liège.
Nowadays Frites are available all day long from kiosks on street corners and main squares and are delicious and a great source of energy to assist with sightseeing.
Another wonderful source of street food is the mitraillettes which are an American style sandwich consisting of a baguette with a huge slab of steak, choice of sauces and onion. Sadly not a great deal of choice for vegetarians or vegans, or if one is concerned about cholesterol levels! But prices are reasonable, approximately €5 for a sandwich and a Belgium beer. The only downside is that often there are long queues and the food is takeaway, so you will need to find a suitable place to sit and enjoy.
Another classic, mussels with chips, and there is no better place than in one of the many fishing villages and towns along the coast of Flanders, where the Belgian mussels are brought ashore. Available in all restaurants in Flanders during mussel season.
A diverse and extensive region of Germany is the Black Forest, in the state of Baden-Württemberg, south-west Germany.200 kilometres long and 60 kilometres wide it is a holiday region synonymous with red pom pom hats, cuckoo clock timber houses and the inspiration for the Brothers Grimm fairy tales Hansel and Gretel, Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel.Wine tasting is a popular reason to visit the area, due to the famous wine routes bordering the enchanting hills of the Black Forest starting from the legendary Baden-Baden.
The region reigns as the sunniest and warmest climate in Germany, with almost Mediterranean temperatures. This mild climate and rich soil make the area one of the best wine regions in Europe.Driving through the Black Forest is the best way to get to know it. Along the way, you can visit and taste the high-quality wines of Kraichgau, Ortenau, Breisgau, Kaiserstuhl, Markgräflerland and Tuniberg. Along the route, there are tastings of Spätburgunder and Müller-Thurgau and other precious Riesling wines.
A good wine should always accompany a good dish and Baiersbronn is the epicentre of the German haute cuisine due to the city´s award-winning restaurants. Undoubtedly it is essential to try the locally produced ham and Black Forest gateau that shares the name of this German paradise. Of course, when the wine becomes weariful, there is always one of the 5,000 varieties of beer that exist in Germany!
Bérgamo is a beautiful city located in the centre of the Lombardy region, 60 kilometres northeast of Milan. A small city with an enormous amount of charm. The city is divided into two well-defined areas, “Citta Alta” (Upper Bérgamo) and “Citta Bassa” (Lower Bérgamo).
The main attraction is Citta Alta. A breathtakingly enchanting area full of stunning Italian architecture and history. Situated on a steep hill and surrounded completely by an ancient Venetian wall with dozens of interesting shops and traditional Italian cafes.
Meander through the narrow cobbled streets and eventually come upon the Piazza Vecchia, all roads lead here. A charming and open space with medieval palaces and the stunning “Fontana dei Contarini” at its centre, epitomising the influence of Venetian architecture. Sit and enjoy a drink and watch life go by in this busy square.
Citta Bassa, on the other hand, has a more modern vibe, rich in business and wide boulevards for strolling along. The two areas are connected by a funicular (a tram), one of the oldest in Italy which will take you to one part or the other in less than five minutes.
Bérgamo is full of restaurants and trattorias where you can eat regional specialities at reasonable prices. A speciality is the famous “Casoncelli alla Bergamasca“, delicious ravioli stuffed with meat, salami, pears and raisins. and the Polenta in Bergamasca, a salty cake made mainly with corn flour. For desert “Polenta e Osei” the most famous sweet in the region. It is a cake made with chocolate cream, butter or nuts and rum, covered by a layer of yellow marzipan. Simple but delicious. Buonissíma